Why character strengths matter

Why character strengths matter

In my sunday blogs I’m talking about personal development, and some of the books I’m reading, and podcasts that I’m listening to.

There are a couple of books I’m reading at the moment on Character Strengths- The VIA Institute. One called ‘Character Strengths Matter’, and another one is ‘Character Strengths Interventions’. There’s 24 character strengths. Things like Appreciation of beauty and excellence, Creativity, Curiosity, Fairness, Integrity and so on.

I decided a few weeks ago that I was going to focus over the next 24 weeks. Each week I will focus on one of these character strengths and try and improve my abilities and my use of whatever that particular strength was each week.

This is week five. I started this five weeks ago and this week is Fairness. The first week was Appreciation of beauty and excellence, week two was Bravery, week three was Creativity, week four was Curiosity and this week five is Fairness.

character strengths matter
Character strength- Fairness mindmap

I’ve done a little mind map. Some of the things that I’ve put down on the mind map:

The definition is about how you treat people and trying to treat everyone the same, and the notion of justice and fairness. It’s about not letting personal feelings bias how you make decisions about people, giving everyone a fair chance.

The essence of it is about equal opportunity for all.

Dimensions, it’s care-based, it’s justice based, it’s about moral reasoning.

Correlations are, there’s elements of forgiveness, of kindness, of honesty, of leadership, of teamwork.

The Golden Mean is, on the one extreme is when you’re completely detached, and the other extreme is partisanship. Where you’re so biased, there’s no sense of fairness whatsoever.

It’s about speaking up for people, it’s about self self-monitoring the judgments you make, and admitting when you’re wrong. How often do you admit when you’re wrong? I’ve certainly been guilty of that and I try now to realise, have some awareness of when I have made a mistake and to put my hand up and say, “yeah okay, that was down to me.”

Some questions that I’m going to be asking of myself this week with this; for example, some examples how I can use fairness on a daily basis. What situations in my work life, in my home life, can i challenge myself in my capacity to be fair. Is thinking about things like when I perceive what I may initially think of as an injustice, and it’s using that pause between the stimulus and the response. Is it really an injustice? Or is it just that my perception was wrong, and then if I do think it is an injustice even after giving it some thought, well then how can I resolve that in a productive way, using my other character strengths?

Fairness is also about involving others in your decisions, allowing others to disagree and to refute things, and assumptions that you’ve made. Being fine with that disagreement and understanding where they’re coming from. It’s about facilitating and encouraging discussions around other people’s opinions and being fair about what they say, and conflict resolution.

These are some areas that I’m concentrating on this week, in my attempt to see if I can improve my character strength of Fairness.

A little bit about this book, about the character strengths. As I said it’s called Character Strengths and you can take a test, an online survey of these, using this link.

There are lots of different questions.It will tell you what your strengths are, in order of 1-24. Some people look at this wrongly. They look at the ones that are number 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and they look upon those as they’re the weak areas. That’s not what it is at all. For example, someone might have love as number 20, then they get really disappointed because they think, “Oh I’m quite a loving person, why is that number 20?” But that’s not what it’s about at all.

All of these are strengths, and it might mean for that person, love is a big part of their life, but maybe they express their kindness, they express their love of learning, their curiosity, their bravery more, than they do their love. It doesn’t mean that they don’t have love as a strength. So sometimes people misread the results of this. None of them are weaknesses, all of them are strengths, but we just use strengths in different degrees.

That’s this week, the book I’m reading, and I’ve been reading it for the last couple of months, because there’s so much to it, and it involves re-reading, and re-reading, to really get to grips with this. And I want to get to grips with this as part of a course I’m doing at the moment. It’s with the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy. Learning to be a Health Coach, and part of this is about identifying my own strengths, and how I can make better use of them, but also being able to identify people I’m working with, people I’m trying to help, to identify their strengths and how I can help them make best use of their own strengths, to resolve the health issues that they may be facing. So that’s this week.

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